Shoes and Pedals – The Perfect Upsell to Boost Your Profits

Once upon a time, clip in style cycling shoes and pedals were expensive and only for ‘hard core’ roadies and mountain bikers.

Road shoes are still a relatively small market. Their totally rigid soles and big cleats that make you waddle and clip clop like a tap dancing penguin will ensure that they stay niche unless there’s a radical design change.

But ‘mountain bike shoes’ have gone mainstream. We’ve put the term in inverted commas because, just like there are more ‘mountain bikes’ sold for general, on road and path use than for dirt trails, likewise cleated ‘mountain bike shoes’ are now sold in big volumes to recreational cyclists and commuters who have no intention to hit the mountain bike trails any time soon.

The styling has changed a little, but Shimano’s SPD system is more popular than ever since it was first launched in 1990.  Photo: Shimano.

The seeds for this market growth go way back 30 years to 1990, when Shimano released their first SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) pedal and cleat system.

With its much smaller, fully recessed cleat, clip in cycling shoes could finally be created that were both comfortable to walk in and efficient to ride. It’s been remarkable how little the SPD shoe and pedal designs have really changed since then.

As to why it has taken so long for SPD compatible shoes and pedals to go mainstream, perhaps it has something to do with entry level prices, which have been steadily dropping over the years, while features have been improving. Perhaps it’s partly due to the growth in spin classes, smart trainers, commuting and gravel riding. Another factor might be the ‘me too’ syndrome. Once a product reaches a critical mass in terms of customer base, more friends and family of those customers get to hear, see and try for the first time and learn why it’s so much more efficient and comfortable to ride any longer distance with a clip-in shoe pedal combination.

Today your customers can choose from a range of shoe pedal combinations for totals under $200 at full retail price.

Given that most bikes under $1,500 come with basic plastic platform pedals, shoes and pedals are the perfect upsell and should be on every retailer’s upsell checklist for new bike purchasers, or even part of a package with a helmet, lights, lock and pump.

You should be able to make almost twice the percentage margin on shoes and pedals compared to a complete bicycle.

Shoes like this Giro Rumble VR model are SPD compatible but can also be worn all day as a casual or work shoe.

Not only will your store be more profitable but your helping your customers enhance their cycling experience, which in turn will encourage them to ride more, wear out more parts, need more servicing and so the virtuous cycle continues.

Of course, margins are constantly under pressure from online competition in particular. Some customers will use you as a showroom, cost you labour while they try on several models and sizes, then go and purchase online.

A few shops have implemented a ‘try on fee’, refundable with purchase, as a way of circumventing this. But in most cases, especially at the budget end of the market, customers won’t be fully aware of prices and won’t mind paying a few dollars more in return for some professional advice regarding the best model, sizing and advice on cleat positioning.

Of course, stocking shoes requires a significant financial commitment, because they come in so many sizes. But pedals are not so bad, just one size of each model and then you can sell ‘combo packs’ of appropriately matched shoes and pedals.

In summary, shoes and pedals are a key upsell that you should be offering to every customer buying a new bike of say the $999 price point or higher. When combined with ongoing stand-alone sales shoes and pedals can be a significant contributor, not just to your sales, but more importantly, to your profits.

Next Month…

Our Annual Feature for July will look at Electronics: GPS, HR, Power Meters, Apps etc. Please contact us if you’d like to highlight your Product or feature your Company in this edition.

Shoes and Pedals Distributors in Australia


  • Advance Traders
  • Bicycle Parts Wholesale
  • BikeSportz
  • BMX International
  • BONT Cycling
  • Cassons
  • Echelon Sports
  • FRF Sports
  • GKA Sports Distribution
  • Groupe Sportif
  • Italiatech
  • Lusty Industries         
  • Shimano                     
  • Specialized                 
  • Trek       


  • Advance Traders 
  • Bicycle Parts Wholesale
  • Bikecorp
  • Bikesportz
  • Bluebird Sports
  • BMX International
  • Cambak
  • Carbuta
  • Cassons
  • Cyclewest Agencies          
  • Dirt Works
  • Echelon Sports
  • Elite Cycle Imports
  • Groupe Sportif
  • Hilbrick Bicycles
  • Jastrac Imports
  • JetBlack Products
  • KWT Imports
  • Link Sports
  • Lusty Industries
  • Oceania Cycle Sport
  • PSI Cycling
  • Pyramid Imports
  • Rex Imports
  • Ride Sports
  • SCV Imports
  • Sheppard Cycles
  • Shimano
  • Steve Cramer Products
  • Super Sports
  • Trek

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